A nurse is a patient’s voice when they don’t have one. I think it’s one of the single most important aspects of the position. We work hard to build a safe trust with our patients, and they look to us to help them understand what’s happening and to be the liaison between physicians and other healthcare personnel. They turn to us for comfort and support and depend on our knowledge to practice safe care. (Gerber, 2018) lists their concept of a nurses roll in advocacy as “consistently insisting on quality of care, including a safe and clean environment, and basic human rights for all. The American Nurses Association lists patient advocacy as “a professional nursing responsibility to protect the rights of patients.” (Gerber, 2018). The article goes on to say “Advocates ensure that patients’ autonomy and self-determination are respected. Serving as the link between patients and the healthcare system, they also contribute to the patient/family decision-making process and speak up when problems go unnoticed or when the patient or family can’t or won’t address them.” (Gerber, 2018).
The most recent situation where I advocated for a patient was with a new admission to my unit from surgery. I was completing the admission assessment and when I got to the suicide assessment section the patient started answering YES to all the questions regarding the potential of committing suicide. I reported the screening to the charge nurse and my preceptor at the time and both were perplexed as to if we should place the patient on suicide precaution. Both colleagues felt as if the patient was safe and wouldn’t be a risk of committing suicide and placing him with a constant observer would place the next shift who was already short staffed even shorter staffed. I couldn’t leave the patient unprotected from self-harm, the screening tool is there for a reason and came from research and evidence-based practices and is hospital policy. I obtained an order from a VERY annoyed surgeon and placed the patient on suicide precautions. I definitely wasn’t the most liked person on the unit that night or next morning, but I did have a couple fellow colleagues come to me as say “even though we will be short, I respect you for doing the right thing.”
Gerber, L. M. (2018). Understanding the nurse’s role as a patient advocate. Nursing2019, 55-58. Retrieved November 2019, 2019, from https://journals.lww.com/nursing/Fulltext/2018/04000/Understanding_the_nurse_s_role_as_a_patient.15.aspx